'WWE RAW' Sept. 23: CM Punk returns, Daniel Bryan stands tall

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When "WWE RAW'" went off the air last week, the good guys rallied and took out Triple H's hired muscle, The Shield. The show ended with Daniel Bryan being paraded around the ring on the shoulders of his fellow wrestlers. Of course, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon can't let that stand, because they're the bad guys.

The big news: Triple H kicks off the show, which is becoming all too normal. He's out with Stephanie as the guys who saved Bryan last week wait on the stage. The McMahons (Triple H is kind of a McMahon at this point) congratulate the good guys on making an impact. When Rob Van Dam lets them know it was because they were fighting for Bryan because he got screwed, Triple H and Stephanie don't believe it.

They make a legitimate argument that the wrestlers should be fighting for themselves, instead of Bryan and even rewards them with an 11-on-3 tag team match against The Shield. The 11-man team consists of Daniel and the 10 men who saved him. Of course, they also tried to plant the seeds of betrayal, telling the other wrestlers that they all deserves Bryan's title shot.

In a funny aside, it seems Triple H doesn't know how to say the word "frustration." He used it no less than ten times in that first segment, saying "fustration" every single time.

Before the big tag match, some of Bryan's teammates had other fights to survive. The Prime Time Players became the latest victims of The Wyatt Family, Kofi Kingston got beaten down and had his arm injured by Alberto Del Rio and Van Dam was utterly destroyed by Randy Orton, who is still trying to find his sadistic side that was lost at some point.

Of course, this new version of crazy Orton isn't nearly as effective as the one that kicked everybody in the head. What's worse than a bad guy whose finishing move is giving his opponent a concussion?

It was no surprise when Van Dam was quickly eliminated from the main event tag match, though the announcers played it up as something amazing. Maybe they weren't paying attention earlier in the show. The announcers were less shocked when Kingston got eliminated.

Five guys got eliminated from his team before Bryan finally got in the ring and started throwing kicks. That leads to the Usos laying a beating on Roman Reigns, which gets him eliminated. I's worth mentioning that's the first time Reigns has been pinned in his WWE career, on TV anyway.

In the end, Seth Rollins was the only Shield member left, while Bryan's team was scattered around at ringside. Daniel rallied and got the victory, as the crowd chanted "Yes!" He doesn't seem to be allowed to look strong very long, so two weeks in a row with him standing tall seems weird.

The next chapter in the Rhodes Family vs the McMahon family story played out, as Cody Rhodes and Goldust jumped out of the crowd to attack The Shield before their match. There wasn't a lot to it, because security quickly grabbed them. Still, it was a cool and unexpected moment. However, all realism was ruined because Goldust was wearing his makeup. If you're there to avenge the attack on your elderly father, you probably don't need face paint.

Even though his head was smashed in a chair last week by Orton, The Miz was back on "RAW" to host a Miz TV segment with Big Show, who miraculously didn't cry. However, Stephanie did make him punch Miz out, which he didn't seem very upset about. Maybe Big Show is coming around to the fact that he likes to punch people in the face.

Finally, CM Punk made his return to "RAW" after skipping last week. The return was perfect, because it was in his hometown of Chicago, a city that would kill for Punk as much as he'd do the same for them.

He was there to apologize for letting the fans down, after getting pinned by Paul Heyman at "Night of Champions." It didn't take Heyman long to appear on the stage riding a rascal scooter, which is a very funny visual. Heyman proclaimed he was the real best in the world, after his victory.

When Punk let him know he was going to walk up the ramp and "rip his face off," Paul realized the battery in his rascal was dead. What's a guy who can't walk to do? Why, have his hired goons beat Punk down, of course. That's exactly what Ryback and Curtis Axel did before he could do any damage to Heyman. It ended with Ryback putting Punk through a table. That's when Heyman got up and walked over, showing that it was all a setup. A solid angle to sell people on CM Punk vs. Ryback coming up at the "Battleground" pay per view.

Also, there was a short segment where WWE showed people how to install apps on their phone. That actually happened. So if you ever need to figure that out, professional wrestling seems to be the place to go.

Matches:
  • Alberto del Rio beat Kofi Kingston
  • The Wyatt Family beat The Prime Time Players
  • Randy Orton & Rob Van Dam draw in a double countout
  • Fandango beat Santino Marella
  • The Bella Twins, The Funkadactyls and Natalya beat A.J. Lee, Layla, Aksana, Alicia Fox, and Tamina
  • Daniel Bryan, R-Truth, Rob Van Dam, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Zack Ryder, Justin Gabriel, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston beat The Shield
Photo/Video credit: WWE